Black Friday?… More like ‘Black Fortnight’

As retailers gear up for Black Friday, research has shown that UK consumers start their shopping journey an average of 15 days before completing a Black Friday purchase.

This is according to Criteo, a global commerce platform provider, which also added that recent September ONS figures have shown a prolonged slowdown in consumer spending until Black Friday, adding the possibility consumers could reverse the trend after an exceptionally long period of saving.

This certainly would keep with tradition; even in 2020, sales growth in the UK increased 33 per cent year-on-year through the first three weeks of November and sales increased by 283 per cent on Black Friday compared to the average in October.

Combined with ongoing global supply chain issues, the need for consumers to guarantee Christmas presents are under the tree before 25 December points to a potentially bumper Black Friday of both personal shopping and gift purchasing.

Despite the unpredictability, seasonal shopping is expected to remain a heavily online event. A third of people rely on search engines when browsing for products, followed by brand websites or apps (32 per cent), a retailers’ website or app (29 per cent) and online ads (26 per cent).

What’s more, consumers electronics was one of the top categories in the UK last year to see a spike in sales, exceeding a 350 per cent increase on the previous Black Friday event.

Nicolas Rieul, Managing Director, Western Europe at Criteo, said: “This Black Friday season presents a challenge to many brands and retailers – but also a great opportunity, with so many months of cautious shopper behaviour preceding the November ‘peak’ period.

“With supply chain issues causing logistical difficulties and the prospect of longer discounting periods eating into profits, retailers and brands need to ensure they are taking advantage of any extra demand to help with diminishing margins.

“As UK shoppers start their ‘path to purchase’ two weeks earlier than Black Friday itself, retailers should prioritise engaging with shoppers well ahead of time – online and offline – or else risk missing a great chance to capitalise on a potential goldrush during peak season.”